Facing Farewell: Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Pet

By Dr. Julie Reck, Dogwise Publishing. $11.95.

OK, this is not in the holiday spirit, but as dog owners it’s something we all face much sooner than we’re prepared. For most of us, letting go is one of the toughest decisions we make in our lifetime, albeit it several times.

This insightful resource by a South Carolina veterinarian discusses the difference between human and animal perspectives on life and death, designed to help the owner make a rational, compassionate end-of-life judgment for his/her beloved pet.

The takeaway nugget here is that animals do not fear death, but they do fear pain. “I really began to believe this concept a few months after beginning Home Farewell (an at-home euthanasia service),” says Reck.

“Facing Farewell” is designed to make you proactive throughout the process. It is packed with worksheets to help the reader recognize body changes and symptoms of pain and offers a complete explanation of the euthanasia process from a practitioner’s perspective.

Reck discusses the young pet with serious medical issue(s), the senior pet with a terminal illness and the senior pet without a terminal illness, encouraging the reader to follow his/her instincts, your veterinarian’s guidance and advice from this book.

Her deft handling of this highly emotional subject will not replace the emptiness in your home after your beloved pet is gone but it will empower you to make a timely, rational decision based on the most important element of all – the animal’s quality of life.

Soberly reflective but always open-minded, Reck delicately balances angst and apprehension with sensitivity and simplicity throughout.